Posted by News Express | 28 May 2016 | 1,870 times
A mass arrest of residents has been reported after soldiers in the early hours of Saturday invaded Oporoza, a settlement in Gbaramatu kingdom of Delta State where former militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo hails from. Tompolo is currently in hiding and on trial by the Nigerian Government for alleged fraud.
A resident in the area who spoke from a hideout said the community was invaded at about 1:52 a.m.
Mr Raphael Gbenekama, a resident, said the soldiers who came in many speedboats were still laying siege to the community and many people have been arrested.
His words: “I really cannot say their mission. We are a very peaceful community. They should leave us alone; we are not even talking of lack of development and lack of social amenities.
“As I speak with you I am in the bush where I am taking refuge. The whole community has fled and those who could not run have been rounded up and arrested, but I can tell you that we do not habour criminals, our people are innocent.
“We have a vigilance group that we put in place to ensure that militants do not infiltrate our communities.”
Going by Gbenekama’s account, more than seven gunboats loaded with armed soldiers invaded the community, shooting sporadically, beating up residents and arresting them indiscriminately.
He said that one of the victims is an elderly traditional ruler, Chief Atiti Mala, who was hit with the butt of a gun.
Gbenekama said that the settlement had nothing to do with Tompolo, who is wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He appealed to the Federal Government to call the soldiers to order and protect defenseless civilians.
“We have been sacked from our settlements and the Federal Government should protect us,” he said.
Col Isa Ado, Spokesman for the Joint Military Force in the Niger Delta, declined to react to the development; he neither took calls nor replied to text messages delivered to his mobile phone.
•Photo shows Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin.
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